Eight of these newfound colorways are on necklaces having the unusual decorative front clasp.
The first of two new colorways for the Rococo Pyramid clasp features pink, green, and black triangles on their brass 5/8″ wide flat mesh. Like most of the mesh necklaces it is just about 16″ long. Notice that the clasp looks like it has a slightly different finish than the necklace itself.
This looks at first glance like a reversed patterning of the first one because the large triangles are now located on the lower part of the mesh chain. However, the awkward way in which this necklace sits on the neckform suggests that the clasp’s central piece had become detached and then was reattached “upside down.” These necklaces normally sit very flat and comfortably upon the neck; not at all as this one appears.
A fiery red and black colorway with the same clasp, on their 5.8″ mesh. The center of each triangle is dark green.
Presenting four new colorways featuring their Ribbed Architectural clasp:
The combination of black and pink is quintessentially deco. The mesh chain is 3/8″ wide which is what most examples with this clasp seem to be.
This photo makes me think perhaps these front clasps were not made by the Mystery Jewelry Maker but instead purchased from another company. Why? Because the “base” material of MJM pieces was usually brass; if a silvertone finish was wanted, it would be applied which meant that spots with heavy wear and tear eventually exposed the brass underneath. But looking at this clasp, the materials seem to be reversed: The side pieces – which would get the most wear from opening and closing – appear to be goldtone plated over a silvery base metal. This would explain why the brass/gold front clasps don’t appear to match the finish of the brass mesh necklaces they’re attached to. And so, even if I were to find out who applied for the patent on these front clasp designs, it may not tell me who the Mystery Jewelry Maker company was.
A luscious coffee (or tea sans milk?) brown and white version. The seller described this as being 5/8″ wide which would be atypical, or perhaps was a typo for 3/8″.
Black and white seems to one of their less commonly seen colorways. This example uses the 3/8″ chain.
No width was mentioned for this plain brass example, though it is 16″ long.
An x-and-arrow pattern in red and green on silvertone. There seem to be traces of black paint but it also might be due to oxidation.
Crisp white and spring green diagonal stripes on brass. The same pattern in a salmon pink/bright white colorway is shown in Patterned Mesh Part One. It is 15.5″ long and 5.8″ wide.
This would be a perfect “candy-cane” necklace if only they’d used bright white paint with the red, instead of their off-white/cream color! It was described as being 15.5″ long and 3/8″ wide.
If you have any information about this jewelry or photographs of examples that do not yet appear in this blog series, I would be delighted to include them in a future post! Please use the Contact Form on the About the Chatsworth Lady page.
Browse the other posts in this series
Descriptive index of all Mystery Maker jewelry shown in this blog
I’ve recently found this blog and enjoyed reading your posts about MJM and looking at the pictures. I’m sure I’ve come across a couple of similar pieces in my collecting pursuits and it’s great to know that someone is working hard on bringing this maker back from total oblivion. With only a gut feeling to guide me that nevertheless, is often helpful (many experienced “jool hounds” will agree), I’d like to venture a suggestion: Could your MJM be one of the myriad of jewelry manufacturers located in the Rhode Island area? The way those pieces are made makes me think of that group. Do you think it would make sense to approach your research “from the other end”, i.e. get a list of manufacturers active in RI in 1930s (through the Chamber of Commerce or a business association, etc) and try to narrow down the options by researching any available records regarding their products, suppliers, retailers they used, patents they applied for etc. I realize it’s a huge endeavor but to me there’s nothing better than digging through the archives, and you sound like you might enjoy that, too. I will keep my eyes open for any new pieces or bits of info and check back to see the progress. Best of luck in your search and please keep posting updates!
It’s very possible that they were located in Rhode Island and maybe Providence in particular; there were so many jewelry and findings manufacturers in those days. I have tried contacting the Providence Jewelry Museum several times in the past but never got a reply. What I’d really like to find are wholesale catalogs from the 1930s (the ones that salesmen took to retailers) so that I could look for illustrations of the pieces we know they made. Last year I accessed a Providence City Directory that included the area where most of the manufacturing took place and was astounded by the sheer number of companies identifying their category of business as “jewelry” or “jewelers supplies” or “findings.” A single building often housed a few dozen such companies with no way to know exactly what they made. I did recently reach out to an Etsy seller who specializes in old brass findings, asking him to take a look at my posts and see if he recognizes any of the bows etc from his own research; no answer yet. He is in Rhode Island so I’m hoping he may have some old reference materials!
Attleborough, MA is another area this type of jewelry may come from but I don’t know if detailed records would be available for the small companies that existed there. I wonder if local Historical Societies would be able to provide any leads?
That is a good idea, I’d not considered specific towns in MA but that’s a thought as well. Looking for catalogs of 1930s companies via a local historical society might just turn something up. 🙂
Hi, I’ve come across an old article on N. Attleboro jewelry manufacturers before 1930 with a list of several companies and a paragraph of historic information for each one. If you think it may be helpful in your research, I’ll be happy to share a copy (it’s in .pdf)
To add to the discussion of vintage stampings still in production or re-issued: Salvadore Tool & Findings Inc. (includes Fulford Findings) in Providence, RI has several extensive catalogs online that may contain similar stampings/ components to what’s in your Mystery Maker pieces (salvadoretool.com). If you find identical stampings, it may be worth inquiring if the company acquired the specific vintage molds from a manufacturer who had gone out of business or maybe, they’ve been making those for many years themselves. I would also love to know if they may be helpful in attributing the Mystery Maker pieces. Best of luck in your research, I’ll look forward to reading new posts.
I’d love a copy of the article, thanks so much; I’ve sent you an email from an account you can send it to. Unfortunately Salvadore/Fulford/Sage was an avenue I did pursue about a year ago but they have no MJM findings in their catalogs and a direct inquiry accompanied by pictures of the MJM bows resulted in a “sorry but we have no record of these.” I’m glad you are enjoying the MJM posts! 🙂
Gorgeous! These reminded me a lot of S. African jewellry, though most of those would be beaded, some metal. Thanks for sharing.